The Marvel Rundown: Time is not what it seems in X LIVES OF WOLVERINE #1

Reviews of this week’s new and noteworthy Marvel Comics releases, including X Lives of Wolverine #1, She-Hulk #1, and more!
This week, the next phase of Marvel’s X-line begins with the kickoff of the alternating X Lives of Wolverine and X Deaths of Wolverine miniseries. Does the debut issue pack as much punch as House of X #1 did back in 2019?
We’ve got a review of X Lives of Wolverine #1, plus your regular Rapid Rundown of other new Marvel titles, all ahead in this week’s installment of The Marvel Rundown!
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Color Artist: Frank Martin
Letterer and Production: VC’s Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller
Cover Artists: Adam Kubert & Frank Martin
Reviewed by Cy Beltran
I’ll just come out and say it: I’ve never been the biggest fan of Wolverine. I know this might be a hotter take, but the lil guy is too overused for my taste. It feels like some writers tend to throw him into stories just because they need to have somebody violent show up and they don’t get to the core of the character as he’s meant to be: a compelling, vulnerable man who does what he does in search of peace. 
Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara do a great job of capturing the best parts of that latter characterisation in this first issue of X Lives of Wolverine. The series spins right out of the events of Inferno and is the kick-off to the ‘Destiny of X,’ what has been dubbed the Second Krakoan Age by Marvel. And while this is being marketed as a follow up to Inferno, this issue relies much more on the work Percy has been doing in Wolverine and X-Force
Now, I have been up and down on both series since they launched, but one thing that’s been consistent between the books is how strong Percy’s command over Logan’s voice is. Whether he’s teaming up with X-Force on a stealth mission to Terra Verde or drinking with Jeff Bannister, Percy writes Wolverine with really clear motivations and a deep desire to do good for the people around him. He’s less “angry man with knives in his hands” and more “wise man who aims his knives right where they need to go.” Yeah, it’s a clunky sentence, but this Logan feels more well-rounded than the one I feel like we’ve been bombarded with over the years. 
By nature of being the first piece in a ten-part weekly saga, there is a lot of scene setting throughout this issue. We jump from scene to scene with little context as to why we’re doing so, and though it’s a smart tactic to get the reader questioning what’s happening, it was slightly jarring at first to jump around between Wolverine’s reflections, Omega Red’s scheming, and the main scene. I will say, it did improve as the story went on, and I think that it’s an important feature of the book, not a bug. Data pages definitely helped with the pacing here and bring the reader up to speed on some of the events of Percy’s other books that they might have missed. 
Cassara and Frank Martin are shooting 100% from the line with the art here. Cassara makes every character impressively expressive and there’s a real sense of a lived in world with the amount of detail he squeezes into every panel. It’s gritty and rough at the edges, perfectly suited to the world of Wolverine. Martin amplifies this with his careful use of color on every page. The separation between what I assume to be the present-day and flashbacks (more on those later) is excellently demarcated with these softer, warmer tones for the past and the more vivid, sharp palette of the present. 
The action in this issue is superb. It may seem like I don’t like action based off of everything I’ve said so far, but the fights Cassara renders are exceptionally well done. There’s a strong throughline in everything on the page and you can feel the pain in each blow. In one particular panel, Omega Red slams Egg to the ground, and the combination of Cassara’s art and Cory Petit’s sound effects make the panel pop with a wince-inducing effect.
I won’t say exactly what’s happening here, but as far as I can tell, we’re in for a trip through the lives of both Wolverine and Charles Xavier. Omega Red is out for revenge for what he’s been through in X-Force, and though I can’t say I blame him, what he’s up to could tear apart one of the foundational pillars of Krakoa. I don’t think that I’m totally hooked on the plot yet, but I’m intrigued enough by where this is going and the terrific characterizations to stick around and see what’s next. I’m sure next week’s X Deaths of Wolverine will add even more layers to the mystery of this series, but hopefully it gives a little more context for what this is all about.
Final Verdict: Buy.

Next week, Steve Orlando makes his Marauders debut, and X Deaths of Wolverine begins!
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